The Jacksonville Jaguars have quietly surged forward and are no longer the pushover team that others think they are.
This past weekend was a great big sigh of relief for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the fan base. For the team, it was their first complete game under third-year head coach Gus Bradley; all three phases played strong roles in the game, and scored. For the players, it was a victory that they’d been hunting all season, where everything they’ve been believing about themselves and buying up from Gus came together. For the fans, it was a sigh of relief at a game that was dominant, and sort of justified the feelings of hope for this team they’d been holding during both the regular season and the offseason before that.
But you already knew about that.
One generally common phrase that has popped up in columns on the various sports sites in regards to teams playing the Jaguars: (some team) has been dealing with (injuries, losing skid, etc.) but facing Jacksonville will “cure what ails” the franchise.
For a number of games, this irked me.
Of course, like the many of the fan base, I put on the teal-colored glasses and refused to take them off. “No, the Jags can beat so-and-so.” Yes, it was true that the Jags really could have beat just about every team they’ve played except the Patriots and the Panthers, but fling-flang-it-all if the Jaguars just would not win them!
“Perhaps the Football Gods have seen our team’s penance these past two seasons and permitted us to return to the league with respectability.”
Then you’d hear coachspeak from Gus and the team about learning and continuing to work. I’m told this is what they are supposed to say, but I wanted fire! I wanted angry faces! I wanted Gus to start cutting people and making staff changes.
Bring in the offensive coordinator of last year’s 32nd-ranked offense to make ours, the 31st-ranked, better? That’s insane! But wait…
I’ve been noticing that the Jaguars have been scoring a bit more these past few weeks. Blake Bortles has climbed into the top ten and sits and number six in passer rankings. Allen Robinson is tied at 18 for number of receptions, but ranks 8th in total yards; Allen Hurns is number 23 in receptions and number 24 in yards per game. Overall, our passing game is 13th in the league! I guess it’s not so insane…
It’s been a long time since Jacksonville felt dominant. Sure, we had a couple of decent seasons in 2007 and 2010, but ever since Pride of the Jaguars member Mark Brunell last left the huddle, those good seasons always felt like we were just holding onto something delicate. It was as if we looked at it directly it would dissolve. Of course, between 2008-2013, it pretty much did.
This margin of victory is the widest by our team since we played a man named Dan Marino, and retired him with a 62-7 defeat in the 1999-season playoffs. Perhaps the Football Gods have seen our team’s penance these past two seasons and permitted us to return to the league with respectability.
A sigh of relief indeed. A sigh – nay, a sign – that although the team is not yet where it can be, perhaps it is finally getting to where it needs to be: the team that is no longer the cure for what ails your team.